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Proposed Easthampton Stop & Shop heads to court again May 28

At that hearing, Mark A. Tanner, attorney for Kenneth Cernak of Cernak Buick, will argue that the Easthampton Planning Board’s 2010 decision to approve Stop & Shop’s proposal to build a store at the site of Tasty Top was “contrary to law” because it violated city zoning ordinance regarding traffic flow. He stated in court documents that the proposed traffic changes would make it difficult to access Cernak Buick across the street and added that Stop & Shop’s proposal suggesting customers could use Mountain View Street is not acceptable because it is a private way.

Attorneys for the supermarket chain and the city maintain that the board acted appropriately when it OK’d construction of the store on the 35-acre parcel.

The case has been in court since Cernak first filed suit in February 2010. Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder ruled inin March in Stop & Shop’s favor on a different count regarding whether the Planning Board’s decision was unfair because members communicated with Stop & Shop representatives outside public hearings.

The count that will be argued on May 28 was originally ruled in Stop & Shop’s favor on Nov. 29, 2010, but Judge Bertha Josephson vacated her decision to allow Kinder to hear the other count this spring.

All attorneys declined to comment following the hearing, but in an earlier email to the Gazette O’Flaherty said Stop & Shop was “gratified” by Judge Kinder’s earlier ruling on the project’s legitimacy and “continues to look forward to proceeding with its project and bringing a store to Easthampton.”

He said he could not comment on when the store would be built.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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